Cheteshwar Pujara scored a well-calculated century as India crept their way back into the third Test against Australia on Day 3 in Ranchi on Saturday. (Day 3 Highlights)
Pujara was unbeaten on 130, as India ended the third day’s play at a total of 360/6 to curtail the visitors’ lead to 91 runs. Pat Cummins picked four wickets in a brilliant display with the ball, but India remained on track in their quest to match Australia’s total. (SCORECARD)
Cummins’ second coming
It says a lot about a pacer when he takes three of the five wickets to fall in the day on a slow pitch. And when two of them come off contrasting bouncers, you know why Pat Cummins is highly rated despite his six-year Test absence due to injury. Ajinkya Rahane fell to a needless ramp shot while R Ashwin was done in by a fast and accurate bouncer that went off his glove after he pulled his head out of the line. It all started on Friday with KL Rahul gloving a slow bouncer. The pick of Cummins’ wickets was Virat Kohli’s, edging a delivery he would have driven through cover any day. But this was Cummins’ day.
Another Pujara home gem
Put him on an Indian pitch and Cheteshwar Pujara will do the job for you. He is a pleasant throwback to the days when batsmen looked to spend time before unveiling their quiver of strokes. Pujara played the entire third day to score his ninth century at home, and the first ton by an Indian in this series, to keep India in the game. Out of the 214 balls he faced to get his hundred, 155 were consumed to reach the first fifty. Once he was on a roll though, India were thankful he had taken his sweet time.
Kohli’s blink-and-miss act
Almost 140 overs were spent in Virat Kohli’s wait after he hurt his shoulder on Thursday. So, when he finally emerged after lunch, the Ranchi crowd was hoping for a special from him. It wasn’t to be. Slow to start against the old ball, his eyes lit up when Pat Cummins took the new ball. But he fell three balls later, flashing his bat to a wide delivery without moving his feet. Steve Smith at second slip was already celebrating as he went to ground after taking the catch.
Losing wickets before intervals
A session’s good work was wasted by rush of blood; not once, but twice. Having seen off most of the first session with a nice mix of aggression and defence, Murali Vijay suddenly decided to take the attack to Steve O’Keefe, though it was the last over before lunch. The ball went between bat and pad for Matthew Wade to effect an easy stumping. Vijay was left to rue as a century was there for the taking. Seven overs before tea, Ajinkya Rahane tried to play the ramp shot against Pat Cummins. He only edged to the ‘keeper, leaving Cheteshwar Pujara looking for another partner.